Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


First Time Buyer Central has a NEW LOCATION

Posted in General Information by Jeff Dowler on August 10, 2012
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JUST A REMINDER!!

I have upgraded my First Time Buyer Central blog with new features at a new site – I hope you will visit often.

No more posts will be add to this site after today, July 10, 2010.

FIRST TIME BUYER CENTRAL

A blog for ALL BUYERS, information, tips and news about buying a home

Use Your Common Sense, and Others Too

I realized that I wrote this article some time ago that I didn’t share here.

I think it’s an important one.

Buyers, especially folks going at it for the first time, sometimes just don’t use their common sense. It’s easy to get swayed by a beautiful home, or turned off by an ugly one, without using your common sense about what really is important and what your ultimate goal is.

But in this market of short sales, REOs and sellers who just may not give a hoot about how their home looks, using ALL YOUR SENSES makes, well, sense (cents??).

Read on to learn more how and why YOU better come to your senses while house hunting.

Buyer’s Market? Hmmm

The media implies that it is a buyer’s market out there. In many areas, and many segments of the market, that IS, indeed, true.

People also seem to think that this is true for the REO/bank owned market.

Home for sale

That may be true in some areas but it is certainly not the case here in North San Diego County in Carlsbad, San Marcos, Escondido, Oceanside and similar areas. Multiple offers on just about every REO (and short sale) and with these properties selling in many cases over asking suggests it is a BANKS’ market, NOT one favoring buyers.

Buyers are, in many cases submitting offers on multiple properties, and are losing out on several properties before they are successful. While this is not the case in mid- and high-range properties it is very much a part of the lower end market where many first time buyers need to start out.

dollar_signThe other shift we are seeing is many more cash buyers (often investors) who will often beat out regular buyers with loans since the REO banks (1) do not have to worry about an appraisal or a loan, and (2) they can get their money more quickly.

This is not to scare you away but just to paint a bit of a reality picture so you are not surprised. Given me a call if you have questions, or talk with YOUR agent to learn more about the reality of YOUR market. It may not be what you think it is.

READ MORE:

10 Buyer Challenges for Today’s Market

The Question Used to be – How Much Less Will the Sellers’ Take?

More on Negotiating Repairs After Your Home Inspection

Posted in Due Diligence,The purchase process by Jeff Dowler on December 10, 2008
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It is truly rare, and perhaps impossible, to find a home that does not require some sort of repairs…even a brand new home. Often these things are minor, or deferred maintenance issues, but sometimes they are more significant.

A plumbing problem needing a repair

A plumbing problem needing a repair

As a buyer you DO NOT have a to buy home that needs repairs or has many defects if you don’t want (but be SURE to check on your offer contract in your area to be sure of this, and how and when you are able to back out of any offer contract). But in most cases it seems that buyers DO want to move ahead but would like to have some or all of the repairs taken care of by the seller, or to receive a credit or price reduction.

Repairs are always negotiable, which means you can ask for them to be taken care of, but that the seller can also respond by taking care of some, all, or none. And depending on the amount of your offer you may be in a better position to negotiate (a strong offer) or not.

Some states, like California, have a specific form that is to be used to request that repairs be taken care of. It is OK to submit a list with the form to outline the repairs and how you wish them to be handled (e.g., the receptacles to be repaired by a licensed electrician).

In other states you might simply provide the seller with a politely written request to take care of certain repairs, or propose a price reduction or credit.

As with an offer, requests for repairs are negotiated until both parties agree on how they are to be handled. Or you decide to walk away.

Be sure to talk with your REALTOR to understand the process in your area and what makes sense for your particular offer contract.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information
First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits

Your MOST Important Mortgage Question

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info by Jeff Dowler on June 24, 2008
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As a new buyer you will have a zillion questions. You should. And you should ask them. Don’t ever feel badly about asking questions, even if you think you know the answer. You won’t learn otherwise, and you might make some serious mistakes. EVERYONE is a first time buyer some time. EVERYONE.

As far as financing is concerned, this is one area that confuses many buyers, who often have little clue about what questions to ask, who to talk to, who best to get their mortgage from, and on and on. Perfectly normal.

I submit that perhaps THE most important question you should ask is WHAT IS MY MORTGAGE PAYMENT (i.e., how much is whatever mortgage I qualify for going to cost me per month).

Many feel that the most important thing to know about is interest rate. This is not to say that is not important, but you can’t make your buying decision based on interest rate. Working with a reputable lender and selecting the type of mortgage, and terms, are also important. Lenders will tell you all about their great programs, the terrific rates, fees (be careful about these – sometimes you DON’T get the full skinny on all the fees that can add up, so ASK for this in writing – you NEED the Good faith Estimate so you have a break down of everything the loan entails).

The most important you need to know so you can make the decision that is right for your financial situation is what the monthly payment will be. Don’t get excited that you qualify for $X, which is more than you thought and which will enable you to buy one of those brand new ultra-cool condos you visited over the weekend. So what if the bank says you can borrow a half million.

I would encourage you to START with the issue of what you can afford in your monthly budget, and find out WHAT THAT MONTHLY $ AMOUNT translates to in terms of a mortgage (plus the other fees…like home owner’s insurance, HOA and condo fees, utilities). If you can afford $2000 tops, it won’t do you much good to learn from the lender that you (lucky you) are qualified, based on all the financials (loans and credit card debts, assets, income), to borrow a half million, since that amount will FAR exceed $2000 per month.

Think about this for a moment. Doesn’t this just make cents to you (pun intended!!)?

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360
or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information
First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits

Homebuying Disappointments

Buying a new home is very rewarding – the pride of ownership, and building wealth through real estate (e.g., equity), are two excellent reasons to buy. But there can be disappointments too, especially in this market.

As a first time home buyer, you should at least prepare yourself for the possibility of some of these issues, particularly if you are pursuing short sales, foreclosures and bank-owned properties (which may be most of what you are seeing in your price range).

Read also: Short sales, Foreclosures and Bank-owned Properties

1. The shattered dream – reality hits when you find that you cannot find, nor afford your dream home. And most, if not all, of the distressed properties are in really rough shape

2. Making what you believe to be a good offer and having it rejected. Just because it is a buyer market in many areas does not mean all offers will get accepted.

3. Making an offer on a short sale, foreclosure or REO and having to wait a long time for a response…or getting no response at all. Or getting beat out in the multiple offer bidding.

4. Learning about lots of problems in the home you want to buy during the home inspection – this is pretty common, and if you are buying a distressed home you can be sure there will be deferred maintenance and other issues to deal with.

5. Not qualifying for as much of a loan as you would like, or for a loan that will severely limit what you can buy. The financial realities of home buying can be a big source of frustration, especially with more stringent mortgage requirements, fees (PMI, HOA) and when living in expensive areas like Southern California.

Obviously other disappointments can occur, but these are pretty common, so don’t have unrealistic expectations. Many things can be overcome, and if you are realistic you will be less likely to feel so disappointed when the process does not go how you would like.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360
or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information
First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits

What Will YOU Trade Off When Buying Your First Home?

Posted in What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on February 21, 2008
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You, like most folks who are buying a home, likely have a wish list of some sort of all the things you want in your new home and neighborhood.

Perhaps you have even written out the list.

But if I were to ask you what are you looking for, you could probably give me a list. And even tell me which things are most important vs. those that are less critical.

Going through the process of finding the right home is a challenge, and it is not always dependent on your price range. Everyone wants certain things, no matter what the budget. Most of the time there will be some “wants” you must be willing to sacrifice:

  • your budget may not permit buying in a certain location
  • the home that has the room you want has no yard
  • you found a property with a great view but one less bedroom.
  • all the properties in your price range in the community you want are condos, not detached homes

Be prepared to give up some things to buy a home that meets most of your needs, otherwise you will probably look forever and never be satisfied. And give serious thought to WHAT you are willing to trade off when buying your first home. It’s a little like those baseball trading cards.